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Wednesday, August 29, 2012

Hey! Do I add up?

I love it when I can ask a question and get a straight answer.  Sometimes I get frustrated with people who just want to beat around the bush and never answer the question head-on.  They see their avoidance of the "direct" route as a cunning tactic to keep me from ever discovering the truth.  Thank goodness we serve a God who is delighted to allow us to get directly to the truth!  He knows if we don't discover truth in our quest, we will never be able to fully trust him in (or with) our lives.

My question:  What are God-worshipers like?  Your answer:  Arrows aimed at God's bull's-eye.  They settle down in a promising place; their kids inherit a prosperous farm.  God-friendship is for God-worshipers; they are the ones he confides in.   If I keep my eyes on GodI won't trip over my own feet. (Psalm 25:12-15 The Message)

One day, David poses this question to God.  He probably just wants to see how well he is doing in this thing called "walking with God".  He sees a lot of examples around him - some doing pretty well, others not so much.  He has a lot of options open to him - stick tight to what he has come to know as truth, or explore the "options" of the other types of "worship" he sees around him.  He may not fully know all he desires to know about God, but what he does know compared to what he sees in those around him causes him to evaluate his progress in his own walk.  He wants God's answer to a tough question - "Just what is it like God to be a TRUE God-worshiper?"

In response to David's question, God outlines a few things which act as "measuring sticks" by which David may accurately consider his progress in his own walk with God.

- Aimed at the bull's-eye, not some random target.  A true follower of Christ has his focus directed toward the "center" of God's best in his life.  Look again at our passage and you will see key points.  First, we are arrows.  Arrows have no purpose without the corresponding bow.  They merely fill a quiver and look pretty.  They are only "of use" when they are connected to the bow and poised for action.  The same is true of each of us - we are at our best when we are connected closely to God's heart and are put to use for his purposes.  Second, they are aimed.  The arrow connected to the string of the bow has but one purpose - to hit the target.  No one puts an arrow into the bow and pulls back without the intention of sending the arrow into action.  The arrow is directed toward something, is it not?  The same is true of us - we are connected to be put into action.  This Christian walk is not some leisurely stroll - it is a rigorous, sometimes up and sometimes down, kind of walk.  Yet, we have aim.  A goal - a bull's-eye - which serves as an indication of our progress.

- Settled down with something to pass on to others.  To some, "settling down" suggests a place of comfort, but back in the day, when "settlers" came into a new region, they had much work ahead of them.  I don't think this is far from what God has in store for us in our Christian walk.  We "come into" a new place in our lives, not to just take in the scenery, but to "settle down" in it,  bringing something of fruitfulness from the place.  The settlers of old cleared the land, built a habitat for themselves, and then began to work the land in order for it to yield its fruit.  Nothing delights God more than for us to come into fresh places in our lives and then begin to "work the land" for the fruit to be produced.  What the settlers did allowed for the others to be blessed in future generations.  What we allow to be born from our lives is indeed a blessing to others - a thing to be passed on.

- Close enough to be confided in.  Each of these illustrations gives us some point of "connection" - the arrow with the bow, the settler with the land, and the closeness of a companion with another.  By definition, one who is a companion of another has a frequency of contact with the other.  They are "matched" with each other - accompanying and assisting each other all along the way.  A natural outcome of this type of companionship is the ability to share one's heart with the other - and almost an intuitive awareness of the needs and desires of another.  In one look or gesture, more can be communicated than in a plethora of words!  As we draw nearer and nearer to God, his delight is to confide in us (and we in him).  One who confides has full trust in the other.  There is no trust where there is not first the connection which builds this trust.

- Eyes directed, feet on a firm foundation.  Have you ever been looking down at the ground so much, you missed the thing right in front of you, colliding head first into the object?  I have!  When our focus is on our walk more than on the object of our walk, we find more obstacles which only serve to trip us up.  If I set out to go to the mailbox a few hundred feet from the front door, but am gazing at the sky, I might trip off the sidewalk, stumble over the neighborhood cat, or walk dangerously out into the street.  If I keep my eyes fixed on the corner where I turn, then on the mailbox, and vice-versa on my return trip, I get there unscathed!  The focus we keep determines the "footing" of our journey!

Now, can you say these things about your own life?  Are they the characteristics God and others see in you?  If so, you are likely doing fairly well in your walk.  If not, today is your opportunity to connect, draw close, and see what God will bring forth from the things he is working into your heart today.  Just sayin...